Bhargava DDS

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Oral Health Tips for every life stage

Babies & Toddlers

Although your baby's first tooth typically won't come in for a few more months, it is important not to ignore your baby's oral health.
  • Wipe your baby's gums with a soft, clean cloth after each feeding to clear her mouth of bacteria
  • Toothpaste isn't necessary--or recommended--for a few years, but if you choose that route, opt for fluoride-free training toothpaste
  • When your baby's first teeth debut, try teething rings, a cool spoon, a pacifier or a cold, wet washcloth to help ease discomfort
  • Once your baby's first tooth comes in, it's time to thinking about his first appointment with us
  • Avoid cleaning your baby's binkies off in your mouth and try not to share utensils. Our mouths are filled with bacteria.
  • Try filling your baby's bottle with water at naptime (prolonged exposure to sugar from milk and juice can cause tooth decay)
  • Flossing should start as soon as your child has enough teeth to floss between

School Years, Ages 4-12

This is a crucial time in your child’s oral health because the teeth that come in during this stage are permanent. These teeth will continue to come in until about age 13. Insisting on good oral habits for your child while they are young will set them up for great oral health in the future.
  • As soon as your child understands that they need to spit toothpaste out instead of swallowing it, they can start putting toothpaste on their toothbrush and brushing their teeth on their own.
  • Diet plays a large role in keeping your child’s teeth healthy. Opt for snacks like cheese, yogurt, lean meats, and fruits and veggies.
  • When your child does have sweets, having him eat it with a meal helps to wash away food particles and reduce the chance of cavities.
  • Keep an eye on how permanent teeth are coming in. If needed, braces are usually applied between 8 and 14 years old and are typically worn for one to three years. Signs your child may need braces:
    • Trouble chewing or biting
    • Crowded teeth
    • Biting cheeks or roof of mouth
    • Early or late loss of baby teeth

    Teens, Ages 13-19

    Although your child is pretty much self-sufficient at this point, parents still play a part.
    • If your teen chews a lot of gum, make sure it’s the sugar-free variety, otherwise your teen is bathing their teeth in sugar water every time they chew it.
    • Insist your teen wear a mouth guard during athletics and rinses it after each us.
    • Not keeping soda or sugary drinks in the house is a great way to keep your teen from drinking too much sugar–especially at this stage when enamel is still immature and porous.

    Young Adults, Ages 20-35

    Many people neglect visiting their dentist during this stage, but it is important to see your dentist frequently to make sure no serious (or expensive) problems pop up.
    • Stress can cause TMJ (temporomandibular joint) syndrome, which causes pain in the jaw and tooth grinding. Ask us about a night guard to ward against sleep-grinding if you’re having symptoms.
    • Watch your diet and stay away from things like soda and junk food that can cause cavities
    • Avoid unhealthy habits: smoking can lead to an increased risk of oral cancer, gum disease and yellow teeth (ick!)
    • For women who plan on getting pregnant or are already pregnant, see your dentist regularly. Studies show a pregnant woman’s oral health is linked to her baby’s overall health.

    Midlife, Ages 36-64

    People in this age bracket have busy lives. It’s important to remember not to neglect your oral health in the midst of a career, taking care of your kids and caring for aging parents.
    • Second only to adolescents, women ages 51 and older need the most calcium. Vitamin D and calcium play a major role in strong bones–this includes teeth!
    • People in this age bracket (and older) are more susceptible to oral cancer, and men are twice as susceptible as women. Diagnosing oral cancer at an early stage significantly increases the five-year survival rate.
    • Your teeth may not be as white as it used to be due to years of drinking coffee and wine. There are options for lighting your smile, such as bleaching and veneers.

    Golden Years, Ages 65+

    Seeing a dentist, eating a healthy diet and brushing and flossing are just as important at this age as it was when you were a kid. Moderate to severe gum disease occurs in more than 60 percent of people over age 65. This is a great reason to make it a priority to see us regularly!
    • Frequent self-checks for oral cancer are important. Use a mirror to look in your mouth and throat for red and white patches, sores, lumps or any other unusual changes.
    • A side effect of many prescriptions is dry mouth. To combat dry mouth, avoid dry foods, spicy foods, alcohol and tobacco and stay hydrated. If the problem persists, ask us about over-the-counter medicines to help.
    • If you’ve lost teeth over the years, you have many options with dentures, implants and bridges to replace your natural teeth.